I have worked really hard to try to avoid the subject I am about to start talking about more consistently here, explicitly at least, because if I dont start talking about it, it’s probably going to kill me.
Many of my peers have the idea that at our core we are “spiritual,” beings.
I don’t agree with that. I think we are human beings who express ourselves through our emotions and our thoughts. Images that I hold onto in my unconscious are connected to, and I remember them primarily through my emotions. At times the images have been correlated to my thoughts as well, but that’s not as common.
“If we can get “high” for a time, perhaps we can indeed be God, or at least have the temporary illusion of an intact self.”
First a little background. I won’t go into to the traumas that I experienced but I want to tell you some of the ways that I tried to mitigate them as a child. I remember being drunk in church on Christmas Eve when I was five years old. I probably started drinking alcohol as soon as I could hold the bottle, way before the age of 5.
I started smoking pot in the summer between sixth and seventh grade. I remember going into my homeroom class in seventh grade after having smoked pot. I remember the teacher’s name and I remember how funny it used to be when I first was getting stoned.
So this quote makes a lot of sense for me because when I was stoned or drunk I at least had the illusion, albeit temporary, that I was still intact.
And it was during those times, particularly after I started smoking pot, that I started feeling like there was nothing wrong with me. By this time in my life I felt that there was something wrong with me, all the time. I didnt know it was that I disliked myself, because it was still not dominating me like it did later in life. There was nothing I could do to escape that innate sense of inadequacy that haunted me like a shadow except to drink or use!
“His moral and mental inertia and his notorious prejudices are the most serious obstacle to any moral or spiritual renaissance.” It is this last part wherein my dilemma lies. I have incubated and nurtured, however unconsciously, those prejudices I have against myself. What my defenses do now is say that if I don’t move I can’t get hurt again. That has led to all sorts of trouble in my life.
I face that trouble now. Those prejudices which I created and nurtured are at a place where they are harming me. I have never known at the core level that who I am is okay because the disease I truly suffer from is not alcoholism.
It is toxic shame.
This post is dedicated to my friends Steve, Renee, Pam and Rhonda.
All quotes, unless noted, from Ladson Hinton, “Shame as a Teacher: Lowly Wisdom at the Millenium”
Carl Jung, The Symbolic Life
The picture of Mt. Ranier is from my friend Jessica from PGI.